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Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Imposters Among Us

I recently read about this blatant thievery and it bugged me enough to speak out to anyone who offers free reads on their web sites.

For the most part I've stayed away from the discussions on indie versus traditional publishing. In my opinion both are excellent means of getting published, but they each come with their own baggage.

Author, SKS Perry was robbed and Amazon (as of yet) hasn't taken the appropriate measures to stop the thief who stole his work. It never occurred to me that something like this could happen. It just goes to prove there is scum everywhere.

As a recap, here's what happened: SKS Perry took some good advice and self-published his novel on Amazon. He'd been giving his novel away for free, so why not make a little money on it? 

Evidently, some scumbag thought so too, and published it as well, with the proceeds going directly to him. By the time Perry decided to publish it, he'd found it already existed on Amazon. His friends are pointing him in the right direction, contacting Amazon, sending a DMCA (Digital Millenium Copyright Act) letter and making phone calls.

As of this writing, Amazon still offers the other guy's pirated copy on there web site, but at least they're allowing Perry to publish his rightfully-owned novel. (How nice of them.)

This is why I am so dead set against posting free books on blogs and web sites. I think it's all kinds of wonderful that you want to share, but all it takes is one blackheart yahoo to steal from you and pretend to be you.

For the record, I'm not fond of posting unpublished excerpts either, but that's for different reasons. 

It's not safe out there, people. If you're going to self-publish, don't put it on your web site for free without publishing it first via Smashwords, Amazon, or B&N. And if you're good enough, you don't have to give it away for free.

I read a little of Perry's excerpt and it is good. If you want to support him, be sure to go to HIS link and not the thief's. His novel is called DARKSIDE and here is his link.

54 comments:

Darke Conteur said...

That is absolutely disgusting. I'm going to retweet yours, just to help get the message out.

Maria Zannini said...

Thanks, Darke.

Dru said...

This just makes me sick.

Maria Zannini said...

Dru: I just can't fathom how someone could be so unconscionable.

Bernadine Fagan said...

Getting a copyright should be at the top of every writer's list. It's not hard to do. File online at http://www.copyright.gov/

Mason Canyon said...

Just when I think people can't get any meaner or lower, they prove me wrong. I hope the author gets things straightened out.

Mason
Thoughts in Progress

Sherri said...

That makes me sick but sadly I'm not surprised it happened. I hope Perry gets it fixed and Amazon does the right thing.

Thanks for the link Bernadine.

Maria Zannini said...

Bernadine: Thanks!

Mason: It surprised me too, and I'm generally of the cynical persuasion.

Sherri: I just can't get over the idea someone would have the nerve to try such a thing--and succeed. It'll be interesting to see if Amazon gives Perry the funds that should have gone to him.

Joanne said...

What a shame, Perry's got his work cut out for him straightening this all out. I've often seen that it's not wise to put unpublished work on our blogs and web sites. I guess this is a perfect example of why we shouldn't.

Marianne Arkins said...

Shame on Amazon... though, I've had other problems with Amazon before. Their "service" is exceedingly poor on many fronts, IMHO.

Sarah Ahiers (Falen) said...

i would get a lawyer faster than i could spit.
people piss me off

Maria Zannini said...

Joanne: That's the problem with bureaucracy. Once in, it's hard to sort the tangles.

Marianne: Knock on wood, I've always had good luck with Amazon customer service. Other than the fact it won't let me post Amazon reviews, I can't complain. But this is major. I would think they'd jump on this.

Sarah: I hope they can resolve this without lawyers, but yeah, he'd be on speed dial right now, my finger hovering over the button.

N. R. Williams said...

It is certainly a difficult road out there. I have heard that scampers are downloading all kinds of books, compiling them into one and offering them together, getting many readers to buy from them. The same thing happened in the music business. Free and copyrighted material can be stolen.
Nancy
N. R. Williams, The Treasures of Carmelidrium.

Angelina Rain said...

This is horrible. I’ve heard of plagiarism cases and every time I hear it, it scares me. Before I started writing for publishing, I used to write for the fun of it and then post the stories online. I would also read other stories other people would post. Most of it (at least on the site I posted at) were crap, but there was the occasional good book. One of the authors who posted on it later tried to get one of her books published when she realized that her story was already under contract with a publisher, but by a different author. Eventually, she had things straightened out and the publisher broke the contract with the different author once she proved it that the other person stole her book (the site where she posted the book would stamp the date every time a new page or document was added, and she was able to prove that the story she wrote was around for three years before the other person tried to steal it). Luckily for her, she straightened it out, but after the whole ordeal she was so disappointed in the publishing world that she gave up on her dream. It sucks because she really had talent. I also heard that Nora Roberts was a victim of plagiarism. It’s a scary world out there for us authors.

Maria Zannini said...

Nancy: People steal blog posts too. I've found mine on lots of bogus blogs with pilfered content.

Angelina: How awful for that author. I can understand why she turned her back on publishing. Justice is slow, if not impossible to achieve. Shame on that person for stealing from a peer.

Mike Keyton said...

There was some poor author who was foolish enough to respond to criticism in a most immature fashion, and her name was pilloried and spread like a virus across the internet...well I picked up three separate posts about her, and I'm not a great browser. It seems to me this plagiarist has committed a far greater crime than foolishly mouthing off at critics.

This is also why I never post complete novels on OWSFF

Maria Zannini said...

Mike: I made the same observation. Why did this scoundrel who STOLE an entire novel get so little press?

Sometimes our priorities are in the wrong place.

Ref: OWW
Exactly. I've never posted a whole novel. Nor will I excerpt my work-in-progress--but that's because I'm afraid people will feel obligated to say nice things.

I'd rather they say nice things when it's published. :grin:

Cathy in AK said...

This sort of thing does strike fear in the heart of all writers. Well, all HONEST writers.

I have a couple of short (a page or two, max.) excerpts on my site but would never post more than that. Maybe once the book is released I'd put out more with a VERY clear copyright notice :)

Shame on the thief (who needs a scary letter from a lawyer at the very least) and on Amazon for moving so slowly and "letting" him sell his own work (rolls eyes). I hope Mr. Perry gets this resolved soon.

Maria Zannini said...

Cathy:

Ref: ...a scary letter from a lawyer...

Or a very scary rottweiler. I have one of those. :)

Jennifer Shirk said...

Oh my gosh, that is SCARY. How awful. :(

Barbara Ann Wright said...

Thanks for the heads up! I never thought of this either. How awful. I hate thieves!

petemorin said...

Open up a blog titled [rip-off's name] is a plagiarist scumbag, tell the story, tweet the bejesus out of it, and let the blogosphere bring the turd down in about 24 hours.

It happened when the poor food writer had her piece published on a rip-off foodie website here in western MA.

I'd even do it myself - but I don't want to be an officious interloper ;-)

Maria Zannini said...

@Jennifer
@Barbara: I hope the thief gets caught soon.

petemorin: I remember that. In this case, the thief used the author's actual name, but had the funds sent to *him*. I imagine only Amazon knows who he really is. That's why it's important they act quickly.

Kim said...

I don't know what's worse - the thief or that Amazon is profiting from it. It's all around infuriating and scummy.

And this is why I rarely post more than a few paragraphs of anything and that only after it's been published.

Charlie said...

Terrible. And we thought pirates were bad. I guess, as it gets easier to publish it gets easier to steal too. Ugh!

Maria Zannini said...

Kim: Absolutely. After it's published at least you have some level of protection.

Charlie: It goes back to building a better mousetrap. The more advanced technology gets, the harder we have to work to keep the bad guys at bay.

J.K. Coi said...

Oh wow, I hadn't heard about this particular story (although I've heard of similar, also awful things)

Thanks for letting us know, Maria. I'm definitely going to check out Perry's book--and pay HIM for it.

J.K. Coi said...

On another note, I like how you said "if you're good enough, you don't have to give it away for free" -- I'm just immature enough that I chuckled at that :)

Maria Zannini said...

JK: It probably doesn't help my credibility that I was originally going to say something funny about 'giving it away'. But considering it was a serious matter--I refrained. LOL.

Thank you for saying so, though. I don't feel so alone now. :)

Meghan Schuessler said...

WOW, that is just mind-blowing. Do the a-holes that do this kind of stuff think they're gonna get away with it? And I can't believe Amazon hasn't done anything to fix the situation on their end yet. WTF? *shakes head*

Ellie said...

How utterly appalling and what a lesson to be learnt. I'm going to bookmark this post for future reference.

jackie b central texas said...

First I am utterly sickened by this incident and second went straight to Amazon and bought a copy from the author... I may not get to read it soon but am going to bookmark your post when I post my thoughts on the book on my blog Maria... I hope something positive comes out of this but it will be too late to undo all the theft of profit from the actual author!
I also am going to tweet a link to this post today since missed coming by yesterday, more folks need to get on the ball about this one as it is actually worth taking notice of!

Sondrae Bennett said...

This whole situation is so upsetting and sickening.

I could be wrong but I believe this same thing happened to Zoe Winters with her novella Kept over a year ago. In fact, I think there were two copies on Amazon at one point as well. Not 100% sure about that but I think I remember reading a post about it.

Suzanne Brandyn said...

Some people have no conscience, I'm sure of it. It's terrible when we have to keep an eye out just in case it happens to us. The trouble is what punishment do these people get. Or do they just get a slap on the wrist only to repeat their actions at a later date.

Maria Zannini said...

Meghan: That's what I wonder too. They have to get caught sometime. What kind of life is it always looking over your shoulder?

Ellie: I bookmarked DMCA should I ever need it.

Jackie: You're a good soul, Jackie.

Sondrae: Did it? I didn't know that.

Suzanne: I know people tend to reincarnate themselves with new identities. But what a way to live for so tiny a profit.

Madeleine said...

Goodness that is a terrible and salutory tale. It is a concern :O)

Angela Felsted said...

Thank you for the link. I find it just sad that anyone would do that.

Shelley Munro said...

Yikes, that's terrible! I'd never think of a person doing that. *shaking head*

Sakura Sandra said...

That's a bummer! I hate people who plagiarize. I remember once in middle school, I saw someone at the copy machine going to copy MY poem and she was covering up the part that said my name with another piece of paper. Thankfully I was there and interjected and she acted all embarrassed and removed it, but that's just how so many works are accredited to "anonymous." Lol, when I was a kid, I asked my mom who Anonymous was, because I thought it was some ancient poet or something haha!

Anyway, I am your newest follower. Please stop by my blog to follow me too! Thanks. :)

-Sandra from http://sandrathenookworm.blogspot.com

Maria Zannini said...

Madeleine: It totally took me by surprise.

Angela: I hope none of us ever need to use that link.

Shelley: The sad thing is someone is always trying to think of some way to make money off of us.

Sandra: Welcome! I've already added myself to your follower list and put you on my reader.

I'm so glad you caught that person stealing from you. I wonder if it set her straight.

sksperry said...

You can read about how it all turned out on my blog here: http://sksperry.livejournal.com/

I'd like to thank people like you, Maria, for posting my predicament here and making it public. The support from the writing community has been terrific, and the only thing that got me through all this.

Cate Masters said...

That's so discouraging. Worse is the belief by many that pirating's ok. I just don't understand that mindset.
Hope your post garnered him some extra sales.

Maria Zannini said...

SKS Perry: Glad you got it sorted out, but I think it would've aged me ten years if I had to suffer what you did. (I can't afford ten years.)

I'm so sorry this happened to you. To your credit, you handled it well.


Cate: I don't know what universe people are from where they think stealing is okay. If we could keep people from accessing our sites anonymously, it would probably prevent a big portion of pirating. At least we'd know who they were and out them.

Judith Leger said...

I'm glad SK got that straightened out! I write and even when I find out the pirate have my book up for downloads, I become very upset. I worked on that book and they stole it from me.

If anyone else has problems you can report the thief to the web abuse section of homeland security. Here's the link: hppt://www.ic3.gov/default.aspx

I stopped by for the FF and I'm glad it did. Thanks for sharing this Maria!

Judith
www.judithleger.blogspot.com
www.judithleger.weebly.com

Aimee said...

That's horrid!

I'm hopping through from FF. You can follow back at Coffee Table Reviews

Maria Zannini said...

Judith, Aimee, welcome!

The bar is always open here. :)

E Kelly said...

Newest follower here via the blog hop.I am a new contemporary romance writer and a reader of almost everything! Hope you stop by a check out my blog.

http://writerekelly.blogspot.com/

I agree with you completely about protecting our work. I publish my work first to make sure people know it's mine, never offer anything for free and never print excerpts. I wouldn't want anyone stealing my concept for a book after they've read my exerpt.

Julie Musil said...

Holy cow, that's terrible! I guess I'm not surprised, though. I'm very leery about posting any of my work on line. I'd rather be safe than sorry. Thanks for the warning.

Maria Zannini said...

E Kelly: Welcome! I've added myself to your follower list.

Julie: I see so many people posting unpublished excerpts and I often wonder if some unscrupulous person ever thinks of exploiting them.

Now I know.

Eric said...

Thank you for bringing this to light. It's truly criminal that anybody would do this. The lunkhead ought to be strung up by his toenails and hung out to dry for a few weeks.

Jamie Burch said...

That is very scary! Thank you for sharing this. It's confirmed my decision to not post any excerpts on my blog. I was just thinking about yesterday.

Thank you!

Sophia Chang said...

Agree a hundred times - I guard my work like a paranoid android.

Kim Van Sickler said...

So informative! Great job alerting your fellow writers. I'm a new follower
Kim Van Sickler
http://swaggerwriters.blogspot.com/

Maria Zannini said...

@Eric
@Jamie
@Sophia
@Kim

Nice to see so many new faces. Welcome! Glad the post was useful.